The cursive handwriting was barely legible on the dog-eared, faded menu as we tried to decipher the written words between red wine and olive oil stains. Our mouths were watering with remembrance of a fine meal here five years ago and we knew based on the small crowd forming outside the door that not much had changed.
Our experience taught us that a reservation was necessary for there were only a mere ten tables squeezed tightly together in this tiny alcove below street level. Admittedly, we arrived a few minutes past our reserved time (ahem, not my fault) and I was irritated that our presumed table was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Agitation grew strong in my hungry belly as more and more people crowded the entranceway. We were told “five minutes” but I was not very optimistic given Italian’s skewed concept of time.
But, like an oasis in the desert, the greyish, ponytailed owner appeared outside on the walkway with a tray full of wine. Okay, he has redeemed himself over the foiled reservation, but I still need to eat before 10 pm. We sipped our wine, a light, crisp Vernaccia, and my humour was slowly restored. I began to survey the small crowd gathered at he door…”do you have a reservation?” “have you been waiting long?”
One couple told us that they tried the night before and gave up…they were also told by their hotel that reservations were not accepted at Chiribiri. Strange, because we dropped in earlier in the day and made one. Now I was starting to wonder if it was just all a ruse.
The good wine and friendly chatter made the time pass quickly and I admit, I felt a bit like a rock star when the owner reappeared at the doorway and ushered us in past the waiting crowds. Okay, so making a reservation in person has paid off after all…so long folks, hope you are able to join us soon!
What was on our plates?
I had the Zuppa pomodoro piccante (spicy tomato soup), and Tagliata di manzo (strips of beef). The soup had large chunks of tomato, carrot and celery and a slice of tuscan bread soaking up all that rich goodness. It had just enough kick in it to warm up my insides and add a glow to my cheeks. The beef was cooked to perfection with just the right combination of rosemary and oil. My husband had the Cingiale pasta (wild boar sauce) and Osso bucco (veal shank stew in which the marrow of the bone is a delicacy).
The dinner was a success! For dessert we shared a panna cotta torte con frutti di bosco (whipped cream semi-freddo with wild berry sauce and a spongy bottom). Do you like my translations? I was tempted to steal one of the menus just to get the spelling right and also so you could see my unexaggerated description of the state they were in. Although I usually have my iPad or camera with me at all times this particular evening I didn’t so no photos will accompany this post. Please feel free to use your imagination and run wild with your desires and next time you happen to be in San Gimingnano don’t miss out on the Chiribiri experience.
Important footnote: CASH only. No credit or debit cards accepted. Also, they’re open from 11:00 non-stop until closing should you decide to go here. Also, they have a 4/5 rating from Trip Advisor. They are easy to find just off the main street a few yards away from the large arch entranceway into the historic center.